Day Eleven: Navarrete to Najera

Distance: 19.1km, Steps: 27,279, Time: 5.5hrs

We snuck in a little sleep in this morning to 6.30am! We ate our breakfast downstairs then packed up. The lady that came in late last night was attending to 10 blisters on her two feet! How uncomfortable & painful it must be to walk. Feeling lucky my Achilles’ tendon felt good & I can walk without pain, we hit the Camino by 8.10am – a late start for us.

The joy of not always following the guide book stages & staying in towns in between the stages means we see a lot less Pilgrims. We more or less have the Camino to ourselves. Mr D had some niggling back pain & started experiencing pain in the ball of his foot.

It was a lovely day, cloudy & cool with a slight chill to the breeze. The wide gravel track followed the highway for a bit, then we decided to detour 1.4 kms in to a tiny village called Ventosa to get away from the noise on the highway & because it was a short day & we could. It is said to have good artwork – this consisted of the cafe wall in town having 3D sculptures popping out of it in the form of hands, feet, noses & faces. Well worth the 1.4km extra! We had a drink stop there & I had the best cuppa so far here in Spain. It was just perfect! All the cup of teas I have been getting have been so anaemic in colour even after soaking the tea bag for so long, & a weak taste.

Mr D was checking out these dogs out for their morning walk – 4 German Shepherds, 3 were white. If I’m not too careful, he’ll bring home a white GS puppy one day! I must say on observation, all the dogs ( and I see a lot here ) & cats are all lean, there has not been one that is overweight yet.

We continued on & came across another poor busker playing his guitar & haramonica on the Camino hoping for Pilgrims generosity in loose change.

The track today was easy to walk & mostly flat as we passed through open vineyards & through the industrial outskirts of Najera, a big town. Over the bridge into the “old town” part where we picked the winner of Albergues so far. Mr D didn’t even want to stay as the workmen were jack hammering away on the road just outside the front. I convinced him to stay as I took an instant liking to the place & the noise stopped soon after we arrived anyway. The decor is absolutely stupendous old era & charm – I love it! We decided on a private room for extra with a bunk bed & our own private balcony!

Mr D brought a bottle of vino after we had a lovely lunch by the river so we could relax, drink vino in our enclosed private balcony & watch all the tired Pilgrims come walking in over the bridge.

If there is another curse to be had it’s the energy saving light switches on timers. Some go out after a minute or 3, sometimes after 30 seconds which sometimes catches us out, leaving us sitting on the toilet in the dark or fumbling around on the staircase in sudden pitch blackness. Some showers also have a timer like the showers at today’s Albergue, the water comes out for a minute then stops so you have to keep pressing the button back in to keep showering. This really gets on Mr D’s goat!

The old part of town is enriched with so much history above it with Castle ruins & caves. I could truly spend a day exploring. This would have to be one of my favourite places – wait, they all are!

In the early evening we lazily sauntered across the road to find dinner as the only problem with this Albergue was no meals available. The bar / restaurants usually have a cheap peregrino meal for Pilgrims which is either 2 or 3 course with lots of different food options once you decipher the Spanish words to know what it reads ( I like to google the words & check the images of the food ). It costs between 10 & 18€ & includes a bottle of red wine & bottle of water. We had a 2 course meal & couldn’t finish the main course. Mr D offered his remaining bottle of wine to the big group next to us & they were very happy to accept it. We had red wine coming out of our ears after drinking a bottle during the afternoon then getting another bottle for dinner! The temperature has dropped considerably & we were both feeling quite cold outside so back to our private little room ( hee hee ) & tucked up in our warm beds for an early night.IMG_3830IMG_3831

About the author AmblingRose

We are keen hikers based in Perth, Western Australia. We have hiked 7 New Zealand multi-day walk trails, the 800km Camino Frances in Spain, the Cape to Cape in WA, Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia. We have hiked sections of the 1003 km Bibbulmun Track in WA with plans to complete an end to end this year in Spring, 2019.

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